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Firefighters take a different track: Trio open racing-themed bar in South Jeffco

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By AJ Vicens

Three Denver firefighters who spent a total of 100 years protecting their community have decided to take on an entirely different challenge — running a sports bar.

Bobby Mares, Dean Hastings and Mike Parker have opened Finish Line Sports Pub on West Bowles Avenue just east of C-470. And as the name implies, one sport in particular inspired the theme of their establishment: auto racing.

The front of a classic car protrudes from one of the walls, and couches resemble Cadillacs. In addition, custom beer taps connect to motorcycle gas tanks. Drains below the taps resemble oil pans. And each table has its own television — which of course can be tuned to a race, or to any other event.

One of the two bars sports custom bucket seats, and another touch honors a storied aspect of racing: a yard of bricks runs from one end of the restaurant to the other, reminiscent of “the Brickyard” — the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“This is something we tried to do the best we possibly could,” Mares said, referring to the attention to detail. The trio spent 14 months getting the space ready, and they opened the doors on Feb. 14.

“We could have cut corners to open sooner,” Hastings said, noting that a few minor tweaks are still to come. “We made sure we had it pretty much right before it was open.”

One of the custom beer taps dispenses Model Ale, a micro-brew created by the three owners, who said they chose the bar’s location for its easy access to C-470 and the fact that it’s in a newer building (fewer hassles with plumbing and infrastructure). They also love the large parking lot, which they’re planning to use for car and motorcycle shows, the first of which will be April 5, the Sunday of the Finish Line’s three-day grand opening. The car shows will feature hot rods and classics.

The location is also a plus because the owners want their establishment to become a neighborhood bar for residents of the many apartment complexes nearby.

Mares retired as a firefighter two years ago, and Hastings retired last year. Parker is still working for the Denver Fire Department. The three seem to have few qualms about a career change in a down economy.

“The economy is always a worry,” Hastings said. “There’s not much we can do about it. We have to just open the doors and hope for the best.”

Mares said they’ll counter the weak economy by offering quality service and “a good product at a reasonable price.” The menu will include burgers, simple sandwiches and fries.

Trio will still be putting out fires

The Finish Line’s three owners are accustomed to waging tough battles against an unpredictable foe. Firefighting is different from running a business, Hastings and Mares said, but there are a few similarities.

“One thing I can relate to about that,” Mares says, “is putting out fires. Here they’re smaller fires, but they need to be put out.”

Hastings is just happy he can trust his partners.

“In the fire department, there’s a real camaraderie, a brotherhood,” Hastings said. “… Nobody here is low on the totem pole — everybody is working together and wants to succeed.”

That analogy sparked another thought for Mares.

“When you trust your life with guys, they’re going to be pretty good business partners,” Mares said. “They won’t cheat you out of anything. You can’t ask for anything better than that.”

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.

 

Check out the Finish Line Sports Pub at 5935 S. Zang Street (on the south side of West Bowles Avenue just east of C-470). You can call them at: (303) 979-4608.